The Clatsop County Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing June 9 on a controversial zone change along the Bradwood Landing liquefied natural gas project pipeline route.

Astoria consultant Mark Barnes submitted the zone change application on behalf of property owner J & S Reserve LLC, which owns a 121-acre parcel of land near Westport..

The request is to change the zoning on part of the company's property from open space, parks and recreation (OPR) to lake and wetland (LW) and reduce the residential agriculture zone on the tract.

Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director of the LNG opponent group Columbia Riverkeeper, said the property in question is the same one that's been standing in the way of the Bradwood pipeline development since Clatsop County voters passed a referendum in September barring natural gas lines from crossing OPR-zoned land.

"This zone change would essentially undermine and reverse the vote of the people," he said. "This was the only place the pipeline was proposed to go through the OPR zone. Right now, the state has suspended even reviewing all of Bradwood's permits in part because the pipeline is not compatible with local land use. That's what they're trying to change."

But Barnes said his client, Sam Karamanos, has never raised the issue of pipeline development in their discussions of the zone change. Karamanos did not return phone calls from The Daily Astorian Tuesday.

Barnes said Karamanos is an avid waterfowl enthusiast and wants to preserve the wetlands on the property while allowing for the development of four houses nearby.

Karamanos has also been working with Bradwood Landing developer NorthernStar Natural Gas Inc. of Houston on a possible conservation easement on 150 acres of his land at Peterson Point, between Westport Slough and the Columbia River, about 6 miles east of the Bradwood terminal site.

As part of its voluntary mitigation plan, the Salmon Enhancement Initiative, the company has proposed paying for the conservation easement, which would preserve habitat for the Columbian white-tailed deer, listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and make up for habitat that will be disturbed by the LNG terminal and pipeline development.

The J & S Reserve property is a 121-acre tract made up of 47 acres zoned residential agriculture-1 and 74.24 acres zoned OPR. The landowner is requesting a change that would cut down the RA-1 zone to 21 acres and change the remaining 100 acres to lake and wetland. The zone change would reduce the number of possible dwellings on the tract from 27 to 14.

VandenHeuvel said the change from OPR to LW wouldn't be necessary unless Bradwood's natural gas transmission pipeline was part of the plan.

"Lake and wetland is almost identical to OPR except for one important change," said VandenHeuvel. "Pipelines are allowed in the lakes and wetland zoning and not allowed in the OPR. That change is absolutely unnecessary unless you are to run a pipeline through there. There's no way this is not related to the LNG pipeline."

Voters passed a countywide referendum in September banning natural gas pipelines from being built across OPR zones. The referendum was largely organized by anti-LNG groups seeking to stop the Bradwood project from being built.

Many supporters of the September referendum knew that NorthernStar was planning a pipeline that would have to cross an OPR zone on its way east toward the Williams Northwest Interstate Pipeline near Kelso, Wash.

So far, it's been unclear how the pipeline zoning problem created by the referendum was going to be resolved.

The answer could lie in the June 9 planning commission hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Judge Guy Boyington Building, 857 Commercial St. in Astoria.

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